CNES President Yannick d’Escatha and Head of Roskosmos Anatoly Perminov signed an agreement to this effect on 15 March, in Paris.
Making launchers cheaper and more reliable
Building a modern launch vehicle takes a lot of time … and money. Sending it into space is also very costly.
To prepare the successor to Ariane 5, CNES and Roskosmos will work together on the Oural programme to develop a concept for an innovative, modern and reusable launcher combining a high level of reliability and enhanced safety with reduced environmental impact. This future launcher could also offer access to space at much lower cost than Ariane 5.
France and Russia are joining forces to design and build technology demonstrators for the development of a future launch vehicle. Plans for human spaceflights are focusing on continued utilization of the International Space Station, in particular life-support applications.
The Oural programme, scheduled to last 5 years, should get underway in April.
Continuing long-standing cooperation
A seminar on reusable launch vehicles, organized on 14 and 15 December 2004, confirmed the French and Russian space agencies’ intention to continue their long-standing cooperation. The two nations began cooperating in the launcher sector in 1991 with work on liquid-propulsion engines.
CNES’s Launch Vehicles Directorate will be working hard on the new programme, which will mobilize 50 engineers and 200 million euros in funding. Roskosmos is providing teams, equipment, test rigs and free firings.